Brown's stint lasts just 25 days as Colchester United change manager again

Wayne Brown is the bookies' favourite to take the Colchester United job. Picture: Steve Waller

Wayne Brown lasted just 25 days as Colchester United manager. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Former Ipswich Town defender Wayne Brown's time in charge of Colchester United has lasted just 25 days, with the Essex outfit one again changing manager in an attempt to avoid falling out of the Football League.

U's chairman Cowling sacked ex Town defender John McGreal last summer following a play-off semi-final defeat to Exeter City. That came off the back of fourth-tier finishes of eighth, 13th, eighth and sixth under the Liverpudlian.

The decision, Cowling said, was part of 'a new plan that will see the first team being even more tightly aligned to the academy' and McGreal's long-term assistant, Steve Ball, was subsequently promoted to the role of manager 

Ball was sacked on February 23 following a run of 13 games without a win that left the team nine points above the League Two relegation zone.

He was replaced by Brown, who was manager of the U's non-league partner club Maldon & Tiptree United, with Cowling saying that he 'wanted to give Wayne every opportunity to succeed'.

Brown has overseen just one win in nine though (D3 L5), the team now just four points above the drop zone heading into the final eight matches.

He's now been replaced by Hayden Mullins, the former Crystal Palace and West Ham defender having been brought in as Ball's assistant at the start of this month. Mullins has had coaching roles at Reading and Watford in recent years, temporarily taking charge of the Hornets either side of Nigel Pearson's spell as boss.

Last week, former Colchester boss Joe Dunne returned to the club as a coach, while Ball returned in a player recruitment role.

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Cowling said: "With just eight games of the season remaining and Colchester United still embroiled in a battle to steer clear of the relegation zone, I have decided to make a very tough decision to change the first team head coach for the second time this season.

"Wayne Brown has given his all to lift the club away from danger but his hard work, positivity and enthusiasm have not been rewarded with the results he deserved and the club needed. I can’t allow those poor results to eat away at the team’s confidence to beat the drop, which despite our position remains high.

"I would like to thank Wayne personally for all of his hard work. He jumped in to help me out when I needed him to and I’m very disappointed that things have not worked out.

"I have asked Hayden Mullins to take over the reins until the end of the season and I am pleased to say that he has accepted the challenge.

"I will provide a further update on who will be assisting him once that has been determined but I will be looking for someone with good managerial experience to not only assist Hayden, but to also mentor him over those eight games. I feel this combination will give us the best chance of achieving all of our aims.

"I would like to make it very clear though that this is Hayden’s gig. He will be the first team head coach and it will be him that makes the final decisions regarding the team selection and tactics.

"I would like to go on record once again to say that I take full responsibility for this season’s predicament. I made a number of financial decisions that I believed were needed during the pandemic and those decisions have had a negative impact on results. Had there not been a pandemic, I’m sure we would have been battling at the other end of the table.

"We are where we are. There is a pandemic and I have handled it the way I have. If we stay up, then the decisions I have made will set us up very well for the future and would be viewed as very sensible. If we go down, then they will be deemed as foolish.

"One thing’s for sure though, we will be fighting for every one of the twenty four points that remain available to us."

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